1. IM2C’s vision
Our first step was to meet with staff and the board of IM2C to understand their vision for the future of the charity. We discussed their challenges, why they wanted to move into the McGuire building and what ideas they had already for the space. Following this meeting, IM2C sent through all research and strategy meeting notes.
2. In-house research
After receiving this information from IM2C, we started building the story. Gaps became clear, showing where we needed to do further research. We compiled this evidence in-house.
Within a 10-mile radius of Barrhead, we collected information including:
- Childcare competitors, such as after-school groups
- Services available, such as support groups
- Statistics on children with disabilities
- Transport links
We researched and developed headline projected costs for operating the IM2C building. We based these projections on historic operational costs, accounting for increased utilities prices. Working with an architect, we included an estimate for a possible building refit.
At this stage of business planning, before a feasibility study has been conducted, we advised against developing detailed financial projections. Doing so would be pulling figures out of thin air – figures that IM2C could be held accountable for in the future.
Social enterprise for sustainability
To achieve financial sustainability, and break the cycle of funding, we looked at how the McGuire building could create additional sources of revenue for IM2C. In the business proposal, we laid out several options for incorporating social enterprise into its strategy, including renting hotdesk space and setting up a bookshop café. Enterprise would open the building to the wider community, creating ripples of impact beyond IM2C’s members.
3. Talking with members
A membership organisation is nothing without its members. It was essential that we listened to them to understand how IM2C affects their lives.
We attended a children’s session where we interviewed parent/guardians of members, as well as an adult event to talk with adult members. They all told us about the difference IM2C had made on their lives. We were taken aback by their positivity. IM2C wasn’t just another charity running events: they have made a real difference.
“The club has helped both of my boys so much with making friends and improving their social interactions. The boys feel happy and in a safe space.” – Mum of Junior Club Members
This part of our work is invaluable. We gain an insight into the impact made, and we bring that story to life. People connect to stories about other people more than numbers and statistics – so we use we use both.